Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown during a confrontation on August 9, announced that he was resigning from the police force in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday.
Wilson’s resignation letter stated that he was leaving the force, due to the fact that he had been told his employment would put both the residents and the police officers of Ferguson at risk:
“I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”
Last week, the Grand Jury announced that they would not indict Wilson for Brown’s murder, sparking outrage in the city of Ferguson, which went beyond the protests that were held following Brown’s death in August.
According to NBC News, although Wilson resigned because of “credible threats” to both the department and its officers, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson “didn’t press Wilson to resign.”
Yahoo News reported that prior to the threats, the city of Ferguson was “already discussing an exit strategy,” and had acknowledged that Wilson “staying on as an officer there would be impossible.”
Following Wilson’s resignation, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced that Wilson will not receive any further pay or benefits, and that he has “severed ties” with the city.
According to ABC News, although Wilson was “cleared of criminal charges by the Grand Jury,” the Justice Department is “conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting as well as a separate probe of police department practices.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Wilson’s wife, Barbara Spradling, a 12-year-veteran of the Ferguson police force who he married on October 24, has been asked by the department to also resign, but “she has so far declined to do so.“